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Sony's Rebooted Robot Dog Will Fetch Ruffly $1,700

Wall Street Journal

Sony shares rose more than 11% on Wednesday to a nine-year-high. The new Aibo features improved artificial intelligence software and enhanced motors and sensors that help the robot better resemble a real dog. The company said each device will develop unique behavior patterns depending on owner interactions and can work with other internet-connected electronics. The Aibo will be released first in Japan and cost ¥198,000 (about $1,700). New owners will also need to pay about $25 a month for cloud services to provide their devices with remote updates for things like teaching the robot new tricks.


Automation Kills Jobs in Retail---and Replaces Them With Better Ones

Wall Street Journal

For retailers, the robot apocalypse isn't a science-fiction movie. As digital giants swallow a growing share of shoppers' spending, thousands of stores have closed and tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs. But, Mr. Bessen found, ATMs made it much cheaper to operate a branch so banks opened more: Total branches rose 43% over that time. As the number of ATMs rose, so did the number of bank branches, so the ranks of tellers expanded.


SoftBank Plans 4.5 billion Investment in South Korean Tech Sector

Wall Street Journal

SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 -2.80 % Chief Executive Masayoshi Son on Friday said he intends to invest around five trillion won ( 4.5 billion) in South Korea's technology sector over the next decade. A SoftBank spokesman said that during a meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, the founder of the Japanese telecommunications and internet conglomerate said he intended to invest in fields including smart robots, the "Internet of Things" and artificial intelligence, areas Mr. Last year SoftBank invested 1 billion in South Korea's largest mobile-commerce company, Coupang, which the companies said was the largest-ever internet investment in South Korea. Friday's meeting comes after SoftBank closed earlier this month its 32 billion deal to acquire U.K. chip maker ARM Holdings PLC in the largest acquisition of a European technology company.


Ford Rolls Out Business Services Unit, Plans Autonomous-Car Services

Wall Street Journal

The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker told investors on Wednesday that its new business services unit eventually will deliver 20% margins, two-and-a-half-times its core auto-making operation. It updated its plans for venturing into robo-taxis, electric car and other transportation services like bike sharing and shuttle vans. "The world is moving from simply owning vehicles to owning and sharing them," Mr. Fields said. Ford didn't put a timetable on its lofty 20% margin target for new initiatives, which compares with a forecast of 8% margins in the core operation selling trucks, sport-utility vehicles and cars in markets all over the world.


Nvidia Tops Sales Guidance, Gives Strong Outlook

Wall Street Journal

Nvidia Corp. NVDA 5.59 % said its second-quarter profit surged as the chip maker exceeded its revenue guidance and saw strong demand for its new products. Nvidia shares rose 2.5% to 61.29 in after-hours trading. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters projected 1.45 billion. Nvidia, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is a prominent name in graphics processing units used in gaming software. It has expanded in many new sectors ranging from virtual reality to self-driving cars.


Samsung Bets on China's BYD for Growth

Wall Street Journal

SEOUL--Samsung Electronics Co. said it will acquire a stake in BYD Co. via the Chinese electric vehicle and battery maker's 2.3 billion share sale, as the South Korean technology giant bets on the automotive market to drive growth. Samsung's latest move comes as more technology companies tap into the automotive industry as it undergoes a shift toward next-generation vehicles such as electric and self-driving cars.


SEC Investigating Tesla for Possible Securities-Law Breach

Wall Street Journal

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA 3.69 % breached securities laws by failing to disclose a fatal crash in May involving an electric car that was driving itself, a person familiar with the matter said, heightening scrutiny of how the Silicon Valley company handled the information. Tesla alerted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. car-safety regulator, to the crash and investigated to determine whether the car was using the company's Autopilot system, which lets cars drive themselves under certain circumstances. The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the crash to determine whether it reveals systemic issues tied to development of driverless cars and investigations of accidents involving them, an agency spokesman said Monday. After alerting safety regulators to the crash, Tesla sent an investigator on May 18 to Florida to retrieve data from the car for the first time, the company said.